Fossils, Geologic Time and Earth History

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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  1. The Sun is probably a ______________ generation star 
    1. First
    2. Second
    3. Third
    4. Fourth
    5. Fifth
  2. It probably takes _____________ years for planets to form 
    1. Less than 10,000 
    2. 100,000 - 1,000,000 
    3. 1 - 10 million 
    4. 10 - 100 million 
    5. Over a billion
  3. Which is one of the reasons some scientists think that to have life on Earth, we need Jupiter?
    1. It sweeps up debris and reduces impacts
    2. Its magnetic field deflects cosmic rays
    3. It captured solar system gases that would be toxic on earth
    4. Its icy moons were the source of earth's water
  4. Which is one of the reasons some scientists think that to have life on Earth, we need Jupiter?
    1. Its magnetic field deflects cosmic rays
    2. Its mass, location and circular orbit stabilize orbits of other planets
    3. It captured solar system gases that would be toxic on earth
    4. Its icy moons were the source of earth's water
  5. When do we first see evidence for liquid water on earth?
    1. A billion years ago
    2. 500 million years ago
    3. Two billion years ago
    4. As far back as we can see
  6. The carbonate-silicate cycle has probably helped moderate earth's temperatures. Which of the following is essential for the cycle to operate?
    1. Liquid water
    2. Life
    3. Abundant calcium-bearing rocks
    4. Abundant carbon dioxide
  7. According to most models of stellar evolution, when the earth formed, the sun was:
    1. Twice as bright
    2. The same brightness
    3. One tenth as bright
    4. About 30 percent less bright
  8. One line of evidence for the origin of life is that many of the most simple organisms are:
    1. Single-celled
    2. Extremophiles
    3. Viruses
    4. Algae
    5. Animals
  9. The Wilson Cycle describes what?
    1. The assembly and breakup of supercontinents
    2. The carbonate-silicate cycle
    3. The cycle of solar evolution
    4. The orbital changes that result in ice ages
  10. There is evidence for plate tectonics as far back as
    1. 200 million years ago
    2. 500 million years ago
    3. A billion years ago
    4. Two billion years ago
  11. Earth had large areas of continental crust by
    1. 200 million years ago
    2. 500 million years ago
    3. 1.2 billion years ago
    4. 2.5 billion years ago
  12. The inner rocky planets are made mostly of
    1. Metallic iron and nickel
    2. Iron and nickel sulfides
    3. Calcium and aluminum oxides
    4. Quartz and feldspars
    5. Iron and magnesium silicates
  13. The age of the solar system is about
    1. 18 billion years
    2. 11 billion Years
    3. 4.6 billion years
    4. 2.5 billion years
    5. 1 billion Years
  14. Planets are made of:
    1. The same material as the Sun, minus elements that remain mostly in gases.
    2. The same material as the Sun
    3. Elements that did not go into forming the Sun
    4. Elements not found elsewhere in the universe
    5. The same material as the Sun minus elements that formed later in the sun by nuclear reactions
  15. The difference in composition between the inner and outer planets is due to:
    1. Different element abundances in different parts of the solar system
    2. Differences in temperature as the planets formed
    3. Comets from outside the solar system impacting the outer planets
    4. Nuclear reactions in the cores of the planets
  16. How many extrasolar planets are now known?
    1. None
    2. About 10
    3. About 100
    4. Over 1,000
  17. What size planets can we detect around other stars?
    1. All of them
    2. Anything larger than our moon
    3. Anything larger than earth
    4. Jupiter-sized and larger
    5. None: we cannot detect planets around other stars
  18. When a geologist says a rock has been dated at 100 m.y. old, the possible error is likely to be:
    1. 1 or 2 m.y.
    2. 5,000 yrs
    3. 50 m.y.
    4. less than 10,000 years
  19. If you have 1 gm of Carbon-14, after two half lives, you will have:
    1. none
    2. 1/2 gm
    3. 2 gm
    4. 1/4 gm
  20. An example of a relative age
    1. the Civil War began in 1861
    2. Kennedy became President in 1961
    3. the dinosaurs died out 70,000 years ago
    4. McKinley was President before Hoover
  21. The reason a geologist can look at a rock and tell how old it is (sometimes):
    1. older rocks look different
    2. the geologist has occult powers
    3. the geologist has read the results of others' work in the area the rock came from
    4. the geologist can see signs of weathering
  22. The process of identifying one rock layer with another one far away is called:
    1. correlation
    2. connection
    3. correspondence
    4. collation
  23. Not a dating method
    1. Potassium-Argon
    2. Hydrogen-Oxygen
    3. Carbon 14
    4. Uranium-Lead
  24. Superposition
    1. means that later events leave their impressions on things that formed earlier
    2. is a means of assigning relative ages
    3. is how we know a dike is younger than the rocks it intrudes
    4. is the reason younger rocks usually overlie older ones
    5. all of the above
  25. Why radiometric dating is more reliable than estimating ages from rates of erosion or rates of sedimentation.
    1. We can measure the amount of material very accurately.
    2. Erosion is constant in rate wind and waves redistribute the sediments
    3. Radioactive decay is constant in rate
  26. Using appropriate formulas, the concept of half-life allows us to determine the age of a rock.
    1. Only if it is a whole number of half-lives old
    2. For any age, even fractions of half-lives old
  27. Why K-Ar cannot date very young rocks.
    1. not enough K has decayed yet
    2. all the Ar has decayed
    3. all the k has decayed
    4. all the Ar has leaked off
  28. If sedimentary rocks are arranged in vertical layers, then:
    1. the oldest layer is on the right
    2. the relative ages of the layers cannot be determined without other supporting evidence
    3. the law of superposition must be employed
    4. all of the layers must have formed at the same time
    5. none of these
  29. Two rock units which are located in different areas are probably related, if the fossils that they contain are:
    1. members of the same fossil assemblage
    2. members of two different fossil assemblages
    3. members of fossil groups having two different ages
    4. none of these
  30. The following is(are) related to absolute time measurements:
    1. the geologic column
    2. half-life data
    3. varves
    4. all of these
    5. tree ring data
  31. Which  group does not show a correct sequence of the geologic column?
    1. Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene
    2. Devonian, Ordovician, Silurian
    3. Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic
    4. Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous
    5. Devonian, Mississippian, Permian
  32. A buried erosional surface is called:
    1. a paraconformity
    2. an unconformity
    3. a peneplain
    4. a conformity
    5. none of these
  33. The following factor can affect the measured rate of decay of a radioactive element:
    1. pressure
    2. crystal structure of the host mineral
    3. temperature
    4. none of these
    5. acids
  34. The rate of which a radioactive element decays can be described by the:
    1. type of element
    2. fission-tracks
    3. half-life of the element
    4. type of particle emitted
    5. none of these
  35. The most significant difference between geology and the other sciences is the element of:
    1. time
    2. evolution
    3. correlation
    4. experimentation
  36. An absolute age date for a dike intruding a sedimentary rock reveals the
    1. youngest possible of the sedimentary rock
    2. oldest possible age of the sedimentary rock
    3. age of the next overlying sedimentary stratum
    4. absolute age of the sedimentary rock
  37. The era that covers the longest span of time is:
    1. Paleozoic
    2. Precambrian
    3. Cenozoic
    4. Mesozoic
  38. Which of the following is not a long-lived (over 100 m.y.) radioactive isotope pair?
    1. uranium-lead
    2. carbon-nitrogen
    3. thorium-lead
    4. potassium-argon
    5. all are long-lived
  39. What is being measured in radiometric dating?
    1. the time when the radioactive isotope formed
    2. the time of crystallization of a mineral containing an isotope
    3. the amount of the parent isotope only
    4. when the dated mineral became part of a sedimentary rock
    5. when the stable daughter isotope was formed
  40. If a radioactive element has a half-life of 4 million years, the amount of parent material remaining after 12 million years of decay will be what fraction of the original amount?
    1. 1/32
    2. 1/16
    3. 1/8
    4. 1/4
    5. 1/2
  41. Which of the following is a trace fossil?
    1. dinosaur tooth
    2. bird bone
    3. frozen mammoth
    4. clam shell
    5. worm burrow
  42. Placing geologic events in sequential order as determined by their position in the rock record is called:
    1. absolute dating
    2. correlation
    3. uniformitarianism
    4. historical dating
    5. relative dating
  43. If a rock is heated during metamorphism and the daughter atoms migrate out of a mineral that is subsequently radiometrically dated, an inaccurate date will be obtained. This date will be _____ the actual date.
    1. younger than
    2. it cannot be determined
    3. older than
    4. none of these
    5. the same as
  44. Which of the following methods can be used to demonstrate age equivalency of rock units?
    1. lateral tracing
    2. position in a sequence
    3. radiometric dating
    4. all of these
    5. index fossils
  45. The author of Principles of Geology and the principal advocate and interpreter of uniformitarianism was:
    1. Hutton
    2. Smith
    3. Steno
    4. Playfair
    5. Lyell
  46. The era younger than the Mesozoic is the:
    1. Proterozoic
    2. Phanerozoic
    3. Archean
    4. Cenozoic
    5. Paleozoic
  47. Which fundamental geological principle states that the oldest layer is on the bottom of a vertical succession of sedimentary rocks and the youngest is on top?
    1. lateral continuity
    2. superposition
    3. fossil succession
    4. cross-cutting relationships
    5. original horizontality
  48. Dendrites are
    1. pseudofossils
    2. fossil tree branches
    3. fossil ferns
    4. fossil moss
  49. A lava flow encases a tree trunk. The tree burns but the lava solidifies and leaves a hollow tube where the tree was.
    1. This is a fossil because it's a record of a living thing in the rocks.
    2. It's not a fossil because igneous rocks don't contain fossils.
  50. Which is least likely to become a fossil?
    1. a feather
    2. a bone
    3. a shell
    4. a piece of wood
  51. Is it possible for a species to exist and yet never be preserved as a fossil?
    1. yes
    2. no
  52. The original material of an organism is never preserved as a fossil.
    1. true
    2. false
  53. Most "petrified wood" is an example of:
    1. preservation or original material
    2. carbonization
    3. replacement
    4. cast or mold
  54. We have well-preserved remains of the internal organs of most fossil organisms.
    1. true
    2. false
  55. Most fossils are of creatures that lived in
    1. the sea
    2. rivers
    3. fresh water
    4. the land
  56. A creature which has a shell or bones is certain to be fossilized.
    1. true
    2. false
  57. Most likely to result in an organism being fossilized:
    1. slow burial after death
    2. exposure from decay
    3. being a land-dwelling organism
    4. having hard parts, such as bones or shells

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Created January 2 1997; Last Update 24 February, 2011

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